What are invasives?
As you drive down the road or take a walk through the woods, you may notice plants that have overtaken the native vegetation. These plants may originally have been introduced for ornamental or other value. But without natural controls, they overtake and displace native plants, outcompeting them for resources, and threatening the health of local ecosystems. We call these introduced plants that have detrimental effects invasives.
In Anne Arundel County, about two dozen invasive plant species are particularly problematic. English Ivy, for instance, often planted as an ornamental, easily escapes its original site and overtakes natural areas, covering and killing trees, and choking out ground cover. We invite you to join the resistance! Come train with us and help control the spread of invasive plants to reclaim the health of natural areas in the County.
To become a weed warrior, you’ll attend a 2–4-hour training session in which you’ll get instruction in species identification and ecology—what they are, and why they are a problem; control methods; tool use and safety; and outdoor safety skills. Once you receive training, you’ll be eligible to take part in invasive removal projects. We’ll provide you with resources and let you know about upcoming opportunities. Ready to start?
Anne Arundel Weed Resistance (AAWR) is an organization of volunteers dedicated to controlling invasive plants threatening the health of our natural areas.
The program is sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Forestry Board (AAFB) in partnership with the County’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, South River Federation, Watershed Stewards Academy, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Scenic Rivers Land Trust.
AAWR provides training and technical advice, tool caches, and logistical support for invasive removal projects in the County.
To have a meaningful impact against the spread of invasive plants in the County, AAWR relies on community members like you to serve as weed warriors.
We’re grateful for the support of individuals and groups dedicated to maintaining the health of our natural areas, and invite you to contact us about training or partnering on projects:
- “Friends of” County and State parks
- homeowners associations
- student clubs, service learning volunteers, science classes
- houses of worship
- Master Gardeners and Naturalists
- other gardeners, homeowners, and naturalists
- outdoor recreation enthusiasts
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas (free download available)
Control of Invasive Non-Native Plants includes five questions when evaluating plants for your garden (Maryland Native Plant Society)
- Bad Plants Planted by Good People (Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
- Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland (Maryland Invasive Species Council) (printable brochure)
Now that you know about invasives, plant natives instead.
Besides preserving the balance of natural ecosystems, native plants are adapted to local soils and climate conditions, requiring less watering and fertilizing, and are often more resistant to insects and disease.
- Native Plants for Wildlife Habitats and Conservation Landscaping
- Shopping for Native Plants (Maryland Native Plant Society)
Once you have become educated about invasive and native plants, influence nurseries and landscapers by asking for (and purchasing!) native alternatives.
Make sure they know the law!
The Maryland Invasive Plants Prevention and Control Law regulates the sale of invasive plants to prevent them from entering and spreading in the State. Plants designated as Tier 1 are prohibited from sale; Tier 2 plants may only be sold with explicit notice of their invasive status.
- Native plant buyers shopping cards for retail nurseries (Maryland Native Plant Society)
- Maryland Invasive Plant Regulations: includes lists of Tier 1 and Tier 2 invasive plants (Maryland Department of Agriculture)
Once you’ve learned to recognize invasives, be alert when you’re visiting natural areas. If you spot some, notify the agency or organization responsible for managing the land.
You can also make use of apps to report sightings.
- Statewide Eyes: Mapping Maryland’s Invasive Species: check for training (Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
- Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network (MAEDN): A mapping and reporting technology and phone app
Join the resistance! Get the training and tools you need to become a weed warrior. Spread the word to friends in other areas of the State.